Physical activity attenuated association of air pollution with estimated 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk in a large rural Chinese adult population: A cross-sectional study

Runqi Tu, Jian Hou, Xiaotian Liu, Ruiying Li, Xiaokang Dong, Mingming Pan, Zhenxing Mao, Wenqian Huo, Gongbo Chen, Yuming Guo, Shanshan Li, Chongjian Wang

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Background: Although long-term exposure to air pollution and physical inactivity are linked to increased risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD), however, the interactive effect of air pollution and physical activity (PA) on high 10-year ASCVD risk is largely unknown. Methods: A total of 31,162 individuals aged 35–74 years were derived from the Henan Rural Cohort Study, after individuals with personal histories of ASCVD or missing data on predictors of high 10-year ASCVD risk were excluded. Concentrations of air pollutants (nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter with an aerodynamics diameters ≤ 1.0 µm (PM1), ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) or ≤10 µm (PM10)) of individuals were estimated using a spatiotemporal model based on satellites data. The metabolic equivalent (MET) of PA of each individual was evaluated using the formula: duration (hour/time) × frequency/week × MET coefficient of each type of activity. Logistic regression models were used to analyze associations between air pollutants, PA and high 10-year ASCVD risk. Interaction plots were used to describe interactive effects of air pollutants and PA on high 10-year ASCVD risk. Results: Each 1 µg/m3 increase in PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 were related to a 4.4% (odds ratio (OR): 1.044, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.034, 1.056), 9.1% (OR: 1.091, 95% CI: 1.079, 1.104), 4.6% (OR: 1.046, 95% CI: 1.040, 1.051) or 6.4% (OR: 1.064, 95% CI: 1.055, 1.072) increase in high 10-year ASCVD risk (all p < 0.001), respectively; each one unit-increase in PA MET (hour/day) value was related to a 1.8% (OR: 0.982, 95% CI: 0.980, 0.985) decrease in high 10-year ASCVD risk. Negative interactive effects of PA and PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 on high 10-year ASCVD risk were observed (all p < 0.001). Conclusion: Exposure to high levels of air pollutants were related to increase high 10-year ASCVD risk and these associations were attenuated by PA, implying that PA may be an effective method to the prevention of high 10-year ASCVD risk in highly polluted rural regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105819
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment International
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Air pollution
  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • Physical activity
  • Rural population

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